As I'm sure you know by now following the morning avalanche of Twitter, Facebook, and ESPN, the Bills decided on Syracuse University coach Doug Marrone to be the fifth head coach of their playoff diaspora. With the hire, Russ Brandon and the Bills have sent a clear message that there's officially a new sheriff in town.
Last week's announcement by the Bills that Ralph Wilson had passed the torch down to Russ Brandon was a long overdue move from the 94-year-old owner, who clearly has not been able to competently run the franchise for some time now. But I'm not here to kick a dead horse about the recent lost decade of Bills football now that things appear to be changing.
Rather, I believe the team should be applauded for at least trying to make substantive changes.
Russ Brandon has the energy, youth and apparently the passion to run a quality organization and he should be given the chance to do so without being judged on his past with the team, a role of less-than full-control over operations.
Doug Marrone, like Chan Gailey and Dick Jauron before him, is not the "sexiest" pick for head coach in the NFL. But he does represent a change in philosophy for an organization that has now hired two retreads in a row in Jauron and Gailey.
The Bills are rolling the dice here by bringing in a coaching prospect from the college ranks. Marrone has NFL coaching experience as an offensive line coach and an offensive coordinator but, as the Buffalo News reported, Sean Payton made the offensive play calls on game day.
I'll admit I don't know much about Marrone, but I like that he's only 48 years old, is versed in pro-style NFL offenses, like Brandon, has upstate New York roots (raised in the Bronx, graduated from Syracuse, coached in Cortland and Syracuse), and that he'll basically have the same job to do in Buffalo as he had in Syracuse: change a losing culture into a competitive one.
Of course, the cynics out there are free to suggest that this is the "same old Bills," hiring a college coach with a .500 record for cheap. By outward appearances, it may look that way but, in reality, the Bills are clearly moving in a different direction.
It'll be very interesting to see how Marrone assembles his staff. For the time being, here's an excellent food-for-thought piece on that subject: Marrone's coaching tree. Marrone will really need to hit one out of the park with the defensive coordinator position and there are some intriguing names on the list, including Lovie Smith, Donnie Henderson and Romeo Crennel.